How should I repay my student loans?

If you’ve borrowed money for college, it’s important to repay responsibly. If you have federal loans, there are programs in place to help you if you are unemployed or can only make low monthly payments. Learn more about these programs from the office of Federal Student Aid.

Use these tips to make sure you are repaying your loans responsibly:

  • Start early. If you’re able to pay off interest while you’re still in college, you’ll save money over the long run. Remember, your loan repayments will consist of principal (the original amount you borrowed), plus interest. The longer you take to pay back your loans, the more you’ll pay in interest. Understand the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans here.
  • Calculate your payment. Find the loan repayment plan that works for you, before the bill arrives. Use the loan calculators from FinAid.org. If you have federal loans, explore your repayment options, including loan consolidations or deferment.
  • Keep your lender informed of any changes in your name, address, email address, phone number, Social Security Number or school enrollment status.
  • Make loan payments regularly, even if you don’t receive a bill or repayment notice. Billing statements are sent to you as a convenience, but you have to make payments even if you don’t receive any reminders.
  • Don’t default. The consequences for failing to pay back your loan can be severe and long lasting. Your credit rating could be damaged, and you might not be able to take out loans for future expenses — such as a car or mortgage — or receive your federal income tax refund (which will be applied to your loan balance instead).
  • Ask for help. Repayment options are available to assist you if you’re having trouble making your loan payments. Your lender is more likely to be flexible if you are proactive about seeking help.

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